What Does “High Risk” Mean? A PsycINFO Scan of the Literature

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date

Winter 1996


Community Health | Medicine and Health Sciences | Mental and Social Health | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Recent health research has emphasized the study of high risk variables without consensus regarding different meanings of the term high risk. We provide a categorization scheme for this concept that includes prediction of consequence variables from antecedent variables in different contexts. Different antecedent-consequence combinations (notions of high risk) across a variety of health research contexts are described based on a search of PsycINFO entries from 1985 to 1990. Investigators apparently limit their notions of high risk by specific research areas. We discuss the potential usefulness of the category scheme for providing a conceptual framework which bridges different research domains, or at least reduces the likelihood of misuse of the term.

Rights Information

© 1996 Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy